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One of the vital ways to keep the Human Rights secure and safe is by preserving and prevailing the role of the Judiciary. Standards developed by judiciary have always had a significant effect on the lives of people and helps in the accomplishment of the government’s goal easier. The role of the judiciary is to develop and create such standards to ensure a better understanding of the relationship between the people and their government on one hand and on the other hand had to follow the mandate of United Nations Organisation to develop international harmony and peace with International Community and its members. This article attempts to bring out the concept of Human Rights and the role of Indian Judiciary in shaping human rights jurisprudence which is based on the idea of “Manav Dharma”. The main theme of this article is to highlight the role of the Indian Judiciary in the protection of human rights.

Judiciary in each and every country has an obligation and the constitutional role to protect the human rights of the respective citizens. The mandate of the Constitution of India has assigned judiciary to perform all such functions. The Preamble to the Constitution of India encapsulates the objectives of the Constitution makers to build up a new Socioeconomic order where there will be Justice- Social, Economic and Political. The basic and the prime objective of the constitutional mandate is that every organ of the state i.e. the executive, legislature and judiciary shall work harmoniously to strive to realize the objective concretized under Part III and Part IV of the Indian Constitution. The state is the welfare state maintains the framework of social order by the implementation of various laws without which social life cannot be possible. The philosophers of the social contract theory were of the opinion that the object of the origin and creation of the ‘state’ is to maintain and protect the human rights and ensure social security to each and every individual of the society. According to Aristotle, the term state comes into existence for the sake of necessities and good life. Similarly, Locke was of the opinion that the state has come into existence to remove the obstacle that hinders the development of an individual. Thus, in totality, the term state is recognized with the protection of rights, liberties and to ensure the social security of each and every individual in that particular society. Rights of human beings today occupy the topmost slots in priority, nationally and internationally, over other issues. With the growing tendencies of technologies and arbitrary and abuse of power, the very survival of human beings is under great threat. Large scale human violations take place in each and every corner of different states under the nose of the government. Under such circumstances, the role of the judiciary in protecting human rights and assuring social security becomes crucial and more important. The judiciary in India has adopted the creative and purposive approach in the interpretation of Fundamental Rights and Directive Principles of State Policy enshrined under the Constitution of India. Protection of the dignity of the individual is an essential requisite of the civilized society. Each and every individual of the society is entitled to have inherent rights such rights have been ascribed as Human Rights.  Human beings are rational beings. They by being virtue of being humans to possess certain basic and inalienable rights which are commonly known as Human Rights. Since these rights belong to them because of their existence they become operative with their births. Human rights being the birthright are therefore are inherent in all individuals irrespective of their caste, creed, color, religion, sex, and nationality. Because of their immense significance to human beings, human rights are also sometimes referred to as fundamental rights, basic rights, inherent rights, natural rights, and birthrights. In general terminologies, human rights may be referred to as all those rights that all people have by virtue of being human are human rights. The idea of human rights is bound up with the idea of human dignity. Chief Justice of India J.S Verma has rightly stated that human dignity is the quintessence of human rights. All those rights which are essential for the protection and maintenance of the dignity of individual which create conditions in which every human being can develop his/her personality to the fullest extent may be termed as human rights. The modern concept of Human rights is that the rights possessed by Human beings in their natural capacity of being human and not because of any particular system of law under which they happen to live.


Judiciary is the ultimate guardian of human rights. It not only protects the rights of the citizen but also has recognized certain unremunerated rights by interpreting the fundamental rights in its broadest sense. The Constitutional Mandate of the judiciary protects the rights of the citizens. Thus any individual whose fundamental rights have been infringed can directly approach the Honourable Supreme Court by virtue of Article 32 and can also approach to the High Court by virtue of Article 226 of the Indian Constitution. In such cases, the court is empowered to issue appropriate orders, directions, and writs in the nature of habeas corpus, quo-warranto, Mandamus, prohibition, and certiorari.  


By the term “life” means more than mere animal existence. The inhibition against its deprivation extends to all those limbs and faculties by which life is enjoyed. The provision equally prohibits the mutilation of the body by the amputation of an arm or leg, or the putting out of an eye, or the destruction of any organ of the body through which soul communicates with the outer world” – Field J.

The Honourable Supreme Court of India has adopted the annotation of Article 21 and expanded the concept of life given by Field J that “life means more than mere physical existence”. Right to life is not restricted to a mere animal existence. It means more than just physical survival.

In the new and wider interpretations of Article 21 of Indian constitution, the Honourable Supreme Court of India held that “Right to live” does not mean the confinement to physical existence but it includes within the ambit the right to live with human dignity. While expanding and widening the ambit of Article 21, the Supreme Court of India held that the word “life” may include all those things which are the bare necessities of life such as food, shelter, clothing and adequate nutrition. The Supreme Court also extended the concept of life and held that “Life” is not limited to “death” but, when a person is executed with death penalty and doctor gave the death certificate and dead body was not lowered down for half an hour after the certificate of death, is thus violation of Right to life under Article 21 of Indian Constitution. It is thus only because of wider interpretation of Article 21 which has guaranteed every human being outside or behind the bars certain basic rights and not even the State has the authority to violate those rights. A prisoner does not cease to be a human being even when he or she is lodged in jail, the prisoner still continues to enjoy certain basic fundamental rights including the right to life. There have been debates over the topic that convicts are not wholly devoid of their fundamental rights. “However a prisoner liberty is in the very nature of things circumscribed by the very fact of his or her confinement. His interest in the limited liberty left to him is the more substantial”.